The Padres currently have 20 position players on their 40-man roster and all but two of them will be 25 or older as of next July 1.
Of the two younger, one, Jeudy Valdez, is pretty much guaranteed to spend all of next season in the minors. The other, Anthony Rizzo, should take over as the team’s starting first baseman at some point.
That’s 19 players who should be viable candidates for the major league roster come Opening Day or who shouldn’t be on the 40-man in the first place.
Now, obviously the Padres were going to add at least one or two bats this winter. But Mark Kotsay? On Nov. 15? What good is that supposed to do?
The Padres have oodles of fringe guys in Jesus Guzman, Kyle Blanks, Will Venable, James Darnell, Logan Forsythe, Chris Denorfia, Aaron Cunningham and Blake Tekotte. They’re also still carrying Jeremy Hermida, though he’s almost certainly a goner. It seems like a given now that Denorfia and Kotsay will have bench spots, which makes one wonder how Guzman, Blanks and Venable are going to fit in if the Padres can actually bring in a legitimate roster upgrade at some point.
And, make no mistake, the Padres need to bring in a legitimate roster upgrade at some point.
The Kotsay addition is one that lacks any imagination at all. Someone said “we need a veteran presence on our bench” and while Kotsay certainly has plenty of that to offer, it comes at the expense of on-base percentage and power. If he proves his value to the Padres, it will be as a coach, not as a piece on the 25-man roster taking the roster spot of someone 10 years younger and at-bats from more viable players.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.